Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on February 18th, 2009 at 11:15 am
“Both projects are focused on a livable future for Portland. And this joint presentation opportunity gives us an excellent opportunity to specifically address the issue of how well bicycling and streetcar can play together as we build our livable streets.”
— Ellen Vanderslice, project manager for the Bicycle Master Plan Update
The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation has announced that the upcoming public open houses for the Bicycle Master Plan Update project will be combined with open houses for the Portland Streetcar System Plan.
Ellen Vanderslice, Bike Master Plan Update project manager, says she believes this new scheme has several benefits. When I asked her why PBOT decided to combine these important events, she gave several reasons.
PBOT has been asked to shave millions of dollars from their budget and, according to Vanderslice, putting these two open houses together is an “opportunity to save the taxpayers money.” It’s also, she says, a result of, “a motivation for staff to look for efficiencies.”
In addition to belt-tightening, Vanderslice says these joint open houses have been planned to save “the time and energy of our citizen advocates.” Both projects were already slated to go out for public review and comment in roughly the same time period, so it made sense, Vanderslice explained, to combine these outreach events, “if only to avoid constituent fatigue”.
PBOT also thinks combining the outreach components of these projects will help them reach a wider audience. Again, Vanderslice referred to cost savings, saying, “we can pool the projects’ resources for outreach. Both projects are focused on a livable future for Portland. And this joint presentation opportunity gives us an excellent opportunity to specifically address the issue of how well bicycling and streetcar can play together as we build our livable streets.”
As we’ve reported in the past few weeks, there is a renewed sense of urgency between bike planners and streetcar planners. BikePortland’s Libby Tucker wrote a two–part, In-Depth story about it last month and Streetcar advocate Chris Smith wrote a follow up.
I applaud the continued effort to integrate planning of streetcar and bikes. However, there is much more to the Bike Master Plan than just how bikes integrate with streetcar. I have concerns that these joint open houses will dilute the Bike Master Plan outreach effort.
What do you think?
Is this yet another example of bikes getting the short end of the funding stick?
Do you agree with PBOT’s justification for combining these important events?
Do you think this is an exciting idea that will end up making both plans better?
Do you think this is simply a reality the community has to deal with due to shrinking budgets?
I would love to hear your thoughts.
Here’s the schedule of open houses:
- Southeast Portland
Tuesday, May 5 – 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Franklin High School Cafeteria (5405 SE Woodward St.)
Wednesday, May 6 – 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
David Douglas High School Cafeteria (1500 SE 130th Ave)
Monday, May 11 – 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Roosevelt High School Cafeteria (6941 N. Central)
Central City and Northwest Portland
Wednesday, May 13 – 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Portland Building, Room C, 2nd Floor (1120 SW 5th Ave)
Thursday, May 14 – 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Grant High School Cafeteria (2245 NE 36th Ave)
Monday, May 18 – 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Wilson High School Cafeteria (1151 SW Vermont St)